USC researcher named General Motors Cancer Research Scholar
USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center also receives GM vehicle as part of award
LOS ANGELES, June 29, 2004 – Judd Rice, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Keck School of Medicine of USC, has been named one of five General Motors Cancer Research Scholars for 2004.
Along with the two-year, $200,000 grant given to Rice, USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center also receives a 2004 or 2005 General Motors vehicle of its choice, worth up to $31,000. The vehicle will be raffled off at a later date to raise funds for programs at USC/Norris.
Rice, who joined USC in 2003 from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, received the grant for his research looking at the ways in which changes in the structure of chromatin – the gnarled strands of protein and DNA found in a cell's nucleus – contribute to the development and progression of sporadic breast cancers. (Sporadic breast cancers are those that are not directly associated with a specific genetic mutation.)
Rice's work at the Keck School is concentrated on so-called epigenetic gene regulation – the heritable on and off switches of genes that are associated with chemical modifications to the DNA and proteins in the nucleus – that will ultimately make a difference in the understanding and treatment of cancer.
A native of Phoenix, Ariz., Rice earned his doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Arizona, Tucson. He currently resides in San Gabriel, Calif.
The GM Cancer Research Scholars Program began in 2001 and provides $1 million per year to support the ongoing research projects of young scientists early in their careers. The program is open to members of the more than 40 Comprehensive Cancer Centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. Each Center may nominate one candidate per year for an award.
In 2002, USC/Norris researcher Christopher A. Haiman was selected as a GM Cancer Research Scholar for his work on the genetic determinants of breast cancer. The Cancer Center also raffled off tickets for a chance to win the Chevrolet Tahoe LS donated by General Motors in 2002.